Lanzarote: what to see and do. A volcanic landscape with sandy beaches, top resorts and year-round sun

Why go

It may only take four hours to fly to Lanzarote but driving around the island it can feel like you’ve been transported to another planet. Its strange Mars-like black lava fields, filled with spent volcano cones, make for a surreal experience and the interior is easy to reach from any of the beach areas.

 

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The volcanic landscape of the Timanfaya National Park

Lanzarote has a beach for everything so whether you want to soak up some rays, surf, kitesurf, dive or windsurf, you should find a place to do it here. And, you’ll be able to do it pretty much year-round – with average highs of 21C in January and 29C in August, Lanzarote is pleasant at any time of year.

Whereas the island’s original resort of Puerto del Carmen remains very busy, the more recently established Puerto Blanca is quieter and more upmarket, with a focus on villas and apartments rather than monolithic package hotels.

What to do

The Timanfaya National Park, home to many of the island’s dormant volcanoes and lava fields, offers some excellent walking trails, as well as camel rides and museums. There’s also a good example of the work of revered local artist César Manrique, who designed the El Diablo statue at the entrance and whose artwork and architecture is sprinkled liberally around the island.

Cycling is popular on Lanzarote and you can rent bikes for either around town or more arduous journeys on the island. The small island of La Graciosa, just west of the north of the island, makes for a good day trip and has some fine swimming spots.

Where to stay

Lanzarote Prince Sayaiza Hotel
For something special book into The Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort

Everything from rustic beach shacks to all-inclusive five-star resorts can be found on Lanzarote so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. For something special that also caters for families, the Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort in Playa Blanca ticks all of the boxes, while the Sentido H10 White Suites nearby is popular with those seeking an adults-only experience. If you’re looking for a bit more privacy than is afforded by a hotel, there are plenty of private villas for rent, many with their own pools.

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The adults-only Sentido H10 White Suites

Where to eat

Restaurant El Diablo
Eat while enjoying the breathtaking views at El Diablo

Lanzarote offers up not only good food, particularly seafood, but also some spectacular settings in which to enjoy it. The El Diablo restaurant in the Timanfaya National Park has breathtaking views over the Montañas del Fuego, while the less touristy Restaurante Mirador de Las Salinas just outside Playa Blanca provides stunning vistas of the nearby salt pans. For fine Canarian dining, try La Tegala, not far from Puerto del Carmen.

Getting around

The gulf, Lanzarote
Clear roads around the island make is easy to hire a car

The easiest way to get around Lanzarote is by renting a car. Roads are good and relatively free of traffic and signposting is adequate. If you’re not confident navigating the opposite side of the road, there is a reasonable bus service operating on the island that should get you to most points of interest with careful planning.

When to go

Although summer is the warmest time and winter the coldest, the average high ranges by only about 8°C throughout the year and it’s sunny most of the time so it’s a popular year-round destination.

Three things we like

Lanzarote Bodegas El Grifo Vineyard
Bodegas El Grifo Vineyard is one of the most popular in Spain
  1. Lanzarote’s tourism industry has developed in a way that is more sympathetic to the local architecture than many other resorts in Europe.
  2. You’d think the barren landscape would make wine growing difficult, but locals have developed a unique technique for growing grapes in the La Geria wine valley. Consequently Lanzarote produces some excellent wine, some of which can be sampled at the Bodegas El Grifo.
  3. Lanzarote has many fine white and golden sand beaches, but thanks to its volcanoes it also has some black sand beaches. Playa Quemada is one of the best examples.
A sandy Lanzarote Beach
There are beaches with black, white or golden sand in Lanzarote

Something we don’t like

Many restaurants and bars have touts who try and entice you into their establishments, and some are very pushy, bordering on aggressive.

Don’t miss

Lanzarote Cueva de Los Verdes
The Cueva de Los Verdes are well worth visiting

The caves. Cueva de los Verdes and Jameos del Agua are two of the best choices for a visit, both were formed by the eruption of the La Corona Volcano.

The small village of Teguise, with its distinctive white houses and cobbled streets, is a sleepy place that encourages aimless wandering during the week; on Sunday it hosts a bustling market that’s well worth a visit.

There are very few places in the world where tourists can go on submarine excursions and Lanzarote is one of them. It’s pricey but the novelty of being 100ft under the sea makes it worth it. Staff divers will also hold up a board with a ‘Happy birthday’ or similar message for no extra cost, so you could create an interesting card for a loved one.

High50 insider tips

  • Although many people working in tourism speak English, many taxi drivers don’t, so it helps if you can either learn to say or write down your instructions in Spanish.
  • Lanzarote can be windy, so make sure you pack a cardigan or light jacket to wear in the evenings.
  • There are two main peak seasons: December to April and July and August. Travel outside these periods for great deals.
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A distinctive white-washed village house

Travelling with family?

There’s loads to keep the kids occupied in Lanzarote, particularly if you stay in one of the family-oriented hotels, many of which offer children’s activities on a daily basis. There’s also the Aqua Park in Costa Teguise and the Rancho Texas Park theme park in Puerto Del Carmen.

Need to know

  • Flying time is around four hours.
  • The airport is close to Arrecife and is about 10km from Puerto del Carmen and 15km from Costa Teguise.
  • In Lanzarote two-pin European plugs are standard.
  • There is never a time difference between the UK and Lanzarote as the clocks go forward on the same dates for summer time.
  • The currency is the euro.